New York State IPM Program

March 27, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Highlights from the Northeast Mechanical Weed Control Expo

Highlights from the Northeast Mechanical Weed Control Expo

Today’s post is from Bryan Brown PhD, NYS IPM

Weeding tools have come a long way! Last summer, Eric Gallandt invited me to present the results of my latest “stacked” cultivation trials at the Northeast Mechanical Weed Control Expo. I brought my camera along to document the exciting exhibits by vendors and other researchers. Stacked cultivation featured prominently, as did enhanced accuracy ­– achieved through improved steering capability or camera-guided tools.

(Above) KULT Kress demonstrated their camera guided sweeps and finger weeders (only one row operating). These weeds were too large for optimal finger weeder performance. In-row weeds are most effectively controlled when less than one inch tall.

image shows a monitor mounted on tractor.

(above) The camera guidance system display was brought out from the tractor cab to show participants how it focuses on green plants to determine the location of the crop row.

image is three images side by side showing three angles of a cultivator pulled behind the tractor

(above) HAK showcased a new cultivating tractor with sweeps (left), finger weeders (center), and tines for the wheel tracks (right).

Image shows a sales rep from Steketee company, standing next to a pull behind cultivator that uses a multi-faceted method of disturbing soil and uprooting weeds

(above) Steketee brought their Crumbler Rotors (left), finger weeders (center), and side knives (right).

image shows a Tilmor tractor with weeding equipment suspended beneath to front end. Motor is under and behind the driver.

(above) The cultivating tractor from Tilmor is reminiscent of the Allis Chalmers G, but notice the new crane-winch system for moving tools into place.

image shows a pull behind cultivator with mutlple soil disturbance adaptions

(above) Tilmor also demonstrated a walk-behind tractor with a potential “stacked” cultivation setup.

photo shows two hand pushed cultivators, each with multiple weeder attachments

(above) Jen Goff, from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, showcased several innovative wheel hoes and hand tools.

image shows two researchers discussing their use of multi-functional weeding cultiivators

(above) Ellen Mallory PhD, and Tom Molloy from UMaine discuss their results testing the potential of the CombCut and inter-row hoeing in small grains.

image shows a small attachment suitable for weeding grain fields.

(above) “Stacking” cultivation tools is not just for vegetable crops, this combination has proved effective in small grains.

(above) Slow-motion-video of camera-guided hoeing in a small grain. This practice is gaining popularity in Europe but is still uncommon in the United States.

(below) The futuristic “Tertill” from Franklin Robotics. This solar-powered weeding robot attacks weeds with a string trimmer on its belly and it senses crop plants based on their height. I can’t believe this is now on the market! Flying cars will be next!

graphic showing photo of Bryan Brown and his information. Email him at b r y a n dot b r o w n at cornell dot edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 24, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Permethrin Treated Clothing? Do it the right way.

Permethrin Treated Clothing? Do it the right way.

“Frugality, I’ve learned, has its own cost, one that sometimes lasts forever.” – Nicholas Sparks

A photo of Sawyer Permthrin Clothing and Gear label is used an example of a clothing spray product endorsed by the EPA. It links to another blog post on permethrin use.

The label is the law and will tell you everything you need to know about using a pesticide correctly and legally. (Image does not imply endorsement.)

Some pesticides containing permethrin can be applied to clothing, footwear and gear to protect against mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects. Recent research confirmed that permethrin interferes with blacklegged, American dog, lone star and Asian longhorned ticks’ ability to move and, thus, to bite. EPA-registered products specifically designed for clothing contain 0.5% permethrin. A 22.5 oz. spray bottle claims to treat five outfits and costs $14. However, some people look to save money by buying a permethrin product meant for turfgrass or ornamental applications and diluting it to 0.5%. But what is the actual cost?

3 Reasons Why Making Your Own Permethrin Spray is a Bad Idea:

1) It probably won’t work. A pesticide product contains inert ingredients that help the active ingredient (in this case, permethrin) perform properly for the uses listed on the product label. Products used in clothing and gear sprays are uniquely suited for binding the permethrin to fabric and product labels tell you how long they will be effective (e.g., six weeks or six washes, whichever comes first). If you make a DIY spray with a permethrin product designed for other uses, it won’t bind as well to your clothes; thus, there is no way to know if it will work or for how long, putting you at risk for a tick bite.

2) You could be putting yourself, others, pets, non-target animals, and the environment at unacceptable risk. Permethrin can be harmful if absorbed through the skin and if a product is not designed to bind the permethrin to your clothing, the insecticide will instead move from the clothing onto your skin. For your protection, the EPA will register the use of a pesticide only if rigorous safety testing shows it will “pose no unreasonable risks to people or the environment when used according to label directions.” Only those uses listed on a pesticide label have met this standard, and treating clothing and gear is NOT a use listed on the label of other permethrin products.

3) It is against the law. Because of Reason #2, the first sentence in the Directions for Use section of all permethrin products is “It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” Which, by the way, also means it is against your state’s laws.

Commercially available permethrin clothing and gear sprays cost more because it takes time and money to develop the right mix of ingredients and conduct the required safety testing to ensure that the product will control ticks without putting people and the environment at risk. DIY treatments that pose greater risks while providing poorer control of ticks are hardly a bargain; be sure to use the real thing and follow all label directions.Campaign Objectives Reduce human exposure to tick-borne illnesses. Promote IPM, including monitoring and personal protection, as best management practices for avoiding ticks and tick-borne disease. Make tick avoidance easy to understand and accomplish

For more information about permethrin, visit the National Pesticide Information Center and EPA. And for more information on ticks, tick-borne diseases, why there are so many of them, and how to protect yourself, check out www.dontgettickedny.org.

 

Authors:

A photo of Dan Wixted links to the Cornell University Pesticide Safety Education Program page..

Dan Wixted, Pesticide Management Education Program

  • Dan Wixted, Cornell University Pesticide Management Education Program
  • Joellen Lampman, New York State Integrated Pest Management Program

March 20, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Protect yourself from spring ticks

Protect yourself from spring ticks

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood

The spring of 2020 might have everyone’s yards incredibly tidy, as gardening and yard work are on the short list for things we can all do while social distancing. But COVID-19 isn’t the only disease we need to watch for, and new research shows that protecting yourself from tick-borne pathogens is more important than ever.

They’re active now

table showing blacklegged tick eggs laid in the spring, nymphs active in spring, larvae active in summer, adults active in fall

This table shows the textbook description of when blacklegged tick lifestages are active.

Blacklegged ticks are most active in the spring and fall, although you can often find them active year round if conditions are right (above 37o in the winter, cool and damp in the summer). Many still consider ticks to be a summer pest, but the poppy-seed sized nymph starts questing in the spring, and there have already been reports of nymphal activity in New York. These ticks are considered to be the most dangerous life stage due to their small size, so be sure to put all your tick prevention strategies into place now.

table showing blacklegged tick eggs laid in the spring, nymphs and adults active in spring, larvae and nymphs active in summer, larvae and adults active in fall, adults active in winter

In reality, different blacklegged lifestages can be active almost anytime of year depending on weather conditions.

Keep it clean

A study looking at the effectiveness of recommended yard management measures against ticks showed the presence of trash could predict an increase in ticks over a clean yard, likely due to an increase in the number of small rodents that find both shelter and food amongst the trash. This was more pronounced in yards without forested areas. Sanitation is an important IPM step, so pick up and pack out that trash!

Check your leaves

photo of blacklegged tick adult on dried leaf

Both adult and nymphal blacklegged ticks are active in the spring.

How you managed your leaves in the fall can impact your tick risk this spring. New research shows that piling leaves along woodland edges increased the number of nymphs found by three times or more. Whether they were raked to the edge,  blown there with a leaf blower, or the wind had its way with them, thicker leaf litter creates suitable microhabitats for overwintering ticks.

Identify areas in your yard where leaves have accumulated. Are they close to areas you spend a lot of time, like the kids’ swing set or your garden? It’s best to remove them. Are they in the far corner where no one ever goes? You can probably leave them, but be aware that the tick risk will likely be higher. Check for yourself. It’s pretty easy to monitor for ticks.

Protect Yourself

So while you are out raking, hauling, bagging, and tidying, be sure to wear long pants tucked into socks and a long-sleeve shirt tucked into your pants – all treated with permethrin, apply repellents to exposed skin, and conduct a tick check as soon as you come indoors.

For more information on protecting yourself from tick bites, visit www.DontGetTickedNY.org.

March 9, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Announcing Updates to the Northeastern IPM Best Management Practices for Schools Website

Announcing Updates to the Northeastern IPM Best Management Practices for Schools Website

northeastipm.org/schools//

photo shows a screen shot of the front page of the school best management practices website

Our New Look!

northeastipm.org/schools//

Back in 2013, the Northeast School IPM Working Group (NESIWG) received a Partnership Grant from the Northeastern IPM Center to develop a Best Management Practices (BMP) website.

logo of the northeastern I P M center

Reducing pest and pesticide exposure is important for children, just as it is for district staff and visitors. But schools are especially challenging to manage because they include such varied and heavily used settings such as classrooms, cafeterias, laboratories, auditoriums, theaters, playing fields, playgrounds and gardens.

photo shows signs of damaged turf on a lacrosse field due to over use

The burden of use on an athletic field. (NYSIPM photo)

With the help of many contributors, the NESIWG both created and collected resources for school IPM. We wanted to help administrators, school boards, parents, teaching and support staff, athletic directors, groundskeepers, kitchen staff and custodians how a designated pest management plan can reduce both pests and the need for pesticides. The website was a success.

By 2018, NESIWG members saw the need to update old links and fill out gaps in the content. Eager to keep the website a useful and comprehensive resource, the working group applied for and received a NEIPM Communications grant. Again using focus groups, the following changes were made:

  • a reorganization of the pest species list,
  • additional information on relevant pesticide use regulations in all Northeastern states,
  • grouping resources by stakeholder roles,
  • the addition of two new pages: Breakfast in the Classroom and Playgrounds

Additionally, the recent grant included an update of the working group’s homepage, a new ranking of regional school IPM priorities, a current membership list and an index of school IPM contacts in the Northeast.

graphic shows front of new brochure announcing the changes in the school best management practices website

Front (Outside) of Brochure

Now, with changes soon to be complete, the NESIWG welcomes your visits and assistance in sharing this helpful site. After all, finding and using the website is key!

Back of new brochure advertising the changes to the Best management practices for schools website

Back (Inside) of Brochure

Visit the page!

PLEASE CONSIDER DOWNLOADING OUR BROCHURE, printing a few and sharing them.  OR SHARE THIS LINK.

March 6, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Soybean Disease Workshop at Cayuga County ‘Shop Meeting’

Soybean Disease Workshop at Cayuga County ‘Shop Meeting’

Soybean Disease Identification, Expansion of Soilborne Soybean Diseases and the Soybean Cyst Nematode in NYS, and Considerations for Soybean Seed Treatment Options for these Threats

Cayuga County CCE specialist Ron Kuck held a shop meeting at Dumond’s farm in Union Springs on February 19th.  Jaime Cummings, Field Crops and Livestock IPM Coordinator at NYSIPM shared information on how to correctly identify, differentiate and manage soybean diseases, which seed treatments are most beneficial and cost-effective for soybeans in NY, and how to deal with the new soybean cyst nematode now that it’s been confirmed more widely in NY.
Photo shows Jaime Cummings speaking to a group of seated farmers inside a large, bright metal barn.

A good turnout on February 19 for a Cayuga County Shop Meeting. Growers concerned with soybean diseases heard the latest from NYSIPM’s Jaime Cummings.

Participants took a pre-workshop quiz to gauge their knowledge of the subject, and a post-workshop quiz to see how much they learned.  And, they learned a lot!  The average quiz rating before the workshop was 57%, and was 87% after.  This means a 30% knowledge gain regarding when and which management methods are most effective for each soybean disease, including when pesticides are not the best option, and how to incorporate integrated pest management options for minimizing losses to the soybean cyst nematode.
photo shows symptoms of soybean sudden death diesase

Soybean Sudden Death (SDS) Foliar Symptoms

Ron Kuck received positive feedback from a number of participants, who each said that they appreciated the workshop and Jaime’s expertise and enthusiasm on the subject matter.
Photo shows New York State Integrated Pest Management Program's Jaime Cummings speaks to a group of soybean farmers about soybean diseases.

About 35 farmers and agriculture professionals attended February’s Shop Meeting in Union Springs, NY.

 

Photo shows a close up of soybean plant showing symptoms fo stem canker, a fungal disease.

Symptoms of Northern stem canker on soybean.

Thank you to all who coordinated and attended this successful event.

For more information: Jaime Cummings

This is a graphic containing a photo of Jaime Cummings and where she is housed annd includes her contact email address j c 2246 at cornell dot e d u

February 21, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Dr. Jennifer Grant receives the New York State Turfgrass Association Citation of Merit

Dr. Jennifer Grant receives the New York State Turfgrass Association Citation of Merit

Verona, N.Y.

On Wednesday, February 12th, the New York State Turfgrass Association (NYSTA) Central Regional Conference provided the backdrop for a special recognition.

“NYSTA’s Citation of Merit award recognizes someone who is dedicated to turfgrass research and education, and promotes the careers of those in the turf industry. The New York State Turfgrass Association commends Jennifer for her leadership and service to the turfgrass industry and her valued commitment to environmental stewardship principles. Jennifer’s work secured the foundation of a nationally-respected IPM program. NYSTA is honored to include her in our prestigious group of Citation of Merit recipients.”

It’s clear that nominees have certainly earned the admiration and respect of their peers and colleagues. Those of us who work with her everyday couldn’t agree more.

photo of Betsy Lamb, Jennifer Grant and Steven Whipple during award ceremony

Dr. Betsy Lamb, Dr. Jennifer Grant, and NYSTA’s Vice President, Steven Whipple

NYSIPM’s own Dr. Betsy Lamb was able to announce and present the award. “I am pleased and honored to announce that the 2020 Citation of Merit is awarded to Jennifer Grant, my colleague and friend.”

Jen scouting for pests on turf

Here are some of the accolades:

Kevin Cassidy, New York State Director of Golf

“I first met Jennifer 20 years ago when she and Frank Rossi approached Bethpage State Park looking to apply their IPM research to a fully operational golf course. In 2010, what was learned initially through trial and error on Bethpage’s Green Course was expanded successfully to our entire golf operation statewide (19 facilities). I have witnessed firsthand Jennifer imparting her wisdom and passion to all of our facilities, reinforcing the fact that they can indeed provide top notch playing conditions, while doing it in an environmentally sustainable manner. I was thrilled to hear that Jen was being awarded the Citation of Merit by the NYSTA – what a well deserving recipient. Congratulations my friend!!”

Kyle Wickings, Associate Professor, Cornell Entomology

photo portrait of Dr. Kyle Wickings, Cornell Entomology

Dr. Kyle Wickings

“I have always been impressed by Jennifer’s perspective on the turfgrass industry.  Her knowledge of the needs and interests of our stakeholders and commitment to improving the sustainability of turf make for an excellent combination.  I continue to use this as a model when gauging the value of my lab’s research and extension programming.”

 

 

Julie Suarez, Associate Dean, Office of Governmental and Community Relations

Photo portrait of Julie Suarez, Governemnt Communcations Dean, Cornell

Julie Suarez

“Jennifer’s strength, grace, and great kindness are the traits I will miss the most.  I am, of course, impressed with her tremendous accomplishments in the field of IPM – the living turfgrass BMP’s, all her work with Bethpage and Parks on pollinator habitat – the list can be endless.  But what I will miss the most are the endearing personal qualities that she has always brought to her job – the steadfast commitment, perseverance, and ability to figure out how to just make things happen and frequently on a shoe string.”

Andy Wilson, Bethpage State Park Director of Agronomy

Jen and Andy Wilson during a golf course training

Jennifer and Andrew Wilson during a teaching event on Bethpage State Park Golf Course

“Jennifer’s diligence to not only Bethpage but New York State led us to be at the forefront of seeking solutions and experimenting with novel approaches to pest problems that reduce reliance on pesticides.  Those solutions and approaches sometimes do not work, which is part of the process.  Which makes me appreciate Jen’s patience.  As a golf course superintendent I can admit we are an impatient bunch.  Dr. Grant has dealt with some of our frustration and persisted in guiding us along a path where we are more thoughtful about how we maintain the golf course short and long term. When I first met Jennifer 20 years ago I did not realize how lucky I was to work with someone so talented.”

Dr. Frank Rossi, Associate Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, Cornell University

Portrait of Frank Rossi

Dr. Frank Rossi

“In my thirty years of working around the world on progressive IPM, no single person has had greater impact on adoption of IPM principles that generally lead to reduced pesticide use than Dr. Jennifer Grant. She has lead industries throughout NY quietly but diligently toward principles of land management (beyond turf) that have made NY agriculture and communities among the most productive and environmentally responsible in the world.”

 

Photo shows Jen Grant kneeling to explain the use of a cup cutter to scout for grubs on turf as others watch

Scouting for pests–in this case grubs–is key to successful IPM, and IPM has always been the focus of Jen’s trainings.

February 12, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on The Soybean and Small Grains Congress

The Soybean and Small Grains Congress

On February 5th and 6th, Bryan Brown and Jaime Cummings of the NYSIPM Program presented their latest findings to the farmers, agricultural consultants and agribusiness associates attending the Soybean and Small Grains Congress meetings in Batavia, NY and Waterloo, NY.

Photo of Jaime Cummings speaking to audience

Field Crops and Livestock IPM Coordinator Jaime Cummings

This event was sponsored by the Northwest Dairy, livestock and Field Crops Team, an outstanding regional agriculture program from Cornell Cooperative Extension serving a nine-county region in western New York. The team’s specialists work together with Cornell faculty and extension educators statewide to provide service to the farms large and small whether dairy, livestock, hay, corn, wheat or soybean focused. They are part of the Cornell CALS’ Pro-Dairy program outreach.

map of New York with the NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team Counties shown in red.

Caption: NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team counties

On Wednesday, February 5th, the meeting took place in Batavia. Besides NYSIPM staff, presenters included Mike Stanyard (CCE NYNY Team), Dennis Pennington (Small Grains Specialist from Michigan State University), Gary Bergstrom (Cornell University Plant Pathologist), Jodi Putnam (Field Crops Specialist from CCE), Mike Helms (Pesticide Management Education Program, Cornell University), and Dan Wixted, (Pesticide Management Education Program, Cornell University). With such experienced trainers as these, attendees heard valuable information that will serve them well once the 2020 field season begins.

Bryan Brown shared his recent research trial on managing waterhemp in soybeans. Effective Programs for Controlling Waterhemp in Soybeans

Photo show Bryan Brown speaking to the audience

Dr. Bryan Brown speaks about his work reducing weeds in soybeans.

Jaime Cummings presented her research survey results on biocontrol use of a parasitoid on the cereal leaf beetle. Cereal Leaf Beetle: History, Biology, Management and Biocontrol

On Thursday, February 6th, the same team of presenters spoke to an audience in Waterloo, NY.

Congratulations Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team. Their educational programs and individual assistance cover a wide area of best management practices and as well as dairy farm business. For dairy farms, a bilingual dairy specialist provides producers with employee training and human resource facilitation in Spanish. Educational and support venues range from on individual farm management team meetings and troubleshooting to multi-day classroom and hands-on training and from ongoing farmer group discussion meetings to thematic day long symposia.

As to the success of this year’s S&SG Congress?  Mike Stanyard shared this: I want to thank all of you for making the 2020 S&SG Congresses a success!  It was a very well-rounded program and I have received plenty of comments about the quality of the presentations.  I know the growers took home some very valuable information.

Photo of Mike Stanyard of Cornell.

Mike Stanyard (Ph.D.) CCE, NWNY Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team

Photos: Ken Wise

December 31, 2019
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on NYS IPM’s Best of 2019

NYS IPM’s Best of 2019

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” –Ken Blanchard

Each year, NYS IPM staff are busy blogging about relevant topics. Here’s a recap of some of our more popular 2019 offerings:

ThinkIPM is our catchall blog and a great way to keep a pulse on what’s happening in New York State IPM.

Blacklegged tick embedded behind knee

No one wants to find an embedded tick.

We have spent a lot of time in the past year talking about how to prevent tick bites, from dressing in long pants, using repellents, and conducting daily tick checks. But sometimes one gets past you and you discover that new lump behind your knee has legs. There are always question about what to do next, and Help! I found a tick on me! was the most popular 2019 blog post.

distribution map as of November 2019

Spotted lanternfly distribution map as of November 2019

Spotted lanternfly was also on your mind, and Traveling for the Holidays? provided a checklist for those traveling within the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone. Trust us when we say that you do not want to unintentionally transport Spotted Lanternfly egg masses in New York state.

 

Other IPM Blogs – Besides ThinkIPM, we have more dedicated blogs, and you don’t need to be a specialist to subscribe to them. Here are some of the more popular posts:

We would all like the fruits and vegetables we purchase to be free of critters, and the Spotted Wing Drosophila blog post Managing SWD in raspberries & blackberries helps producers do just that.

 

The most popular Biocontrol Bytes offering was a guest post from our collegues in the Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science, section of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Anna Wallis, Kerik Cox, and Mei-Wah Cho. They discussed moving beyond antibiotics to the use of biopesticides in the post, Battling Fire Blight with Biologicals.

Readers of the The ABCs of School and Childcare Pest Management blog were itching to read about poison ivy in the blog post, Poison Ivy – Don’t scratch.

One of the benefits of blogs is the ability to provide timely information, such as the Your NEWA Blog’s most popular Spring is coming – tune up your weather stations post.

It’s been a nippy end of the autumn, so we expect the Winter Injury Spring 2019 post in the Tree Integrated Pest Management blog to remain relevant.

Not much grows in the winter in NY, unless you have a greenhouse! The Ornamental Crops IPM Blog’s popular Greenhouse IPM update 2.5.19 cover mold and biocontrol efforts that can occur in February.

So, we hope keeping up with NYS IPM Program will be included amongst your resolutions. We wish you a very happy New Year and look forward to serving you in 2020 and beyond.

December 6, 2019
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Shopping For Christmas Trees?

Shopping For Christmas Trees?

by Ryan Parker and Brian Eshenaur

When choosing the perfect tree, people usually consider variety, size, and shape. But with the phenomenon of a new invasive planthopper, Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) (SLF), the tree’s origin may be something to think about.

We always suggest fresh-cut trees from New York’s many great tree farms!Christmas tree farm in winter

 

First of all, we’ll say it’s unlikely that SLF will be on your cut tree. Conifers are not a food source for this pest, but egg-laying females are indiscriminate as to where eggs are placed. That’s why we offer a list for travelers making their way through quarantined areas.

Adult spotted lanternfly with covered egg masses on rusty shovel

Adult spotted lanternfly with covered egg masses on rusty shovel Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

Print this list and keep it in your vehicles!

SLF egg mass on tree trunk

Egg mass Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

At this time of year, winter has killed off adults, but their hardy egg masses remain. Although ornamental in appearance, Spotted Lanternfly is one “ornament” you don’t want hatching from their mud-like egg masses and decorating your property this coming spring. SLF causes economic damage to agriculture, forestry and tourism, and is a major nuisance to homeowners. Learn more by visiting our SLF website!

We bring this up because the SLF quarantined areas of Pennsylvania (shown in blue on the map below) happen to be home to many Christmas tree farms (Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill).

distribution map as of November 2019

Distribution map as of November 2019

If you’re buying a pre-cut Christmas tree, ask the seller where their trees came from. If it’s from PA, learn about this pest and inspect the trunk.  But don’t stop there. Get into the habit of citizen science! “Scouting” (actively knowing how, why, and where to look) for pests gives you a critical role in stopping the spread.

eggs and egg mass on bark

Eggs, and covered eggs (egg mass) on bark. Photo: Emily Swackhamer, Penn State Extension

What else can you do?

There are plenty of cut-your-own farms in New York with family-friendly atmosphere where you can get a fresh tree. If you don’t have time for a cut-your-own experience, ask your tree sellers if they’re aware of SLF risk on out-of-state trees. Awareness is key!

photo of Brian Eshenaur

Brian Eshenaur

Here’s some Christmas Tree tips from our own Christmas Tree expert, IPM’s Brian C. Eschenaur:

2019 was an excellent growing season for Christmas Trees.  We had more moderate summer temperatures and good rainfall this year.  Those suitable growing conditions allowed trees to put on healthy new growth, and the fine weather gave Christmas tree growers good conditions to prune trees so they will be in great shape for harvest. This year’s early-November cold snap was also beneficial in “setting” the needles which is good for longer needle retention in some tree species.

Once in a while we hear from people concerned about the “single use” aspect of real Christmas trees.  But considering the alternative of a plastic tree produced, then shipped from overseas, (and eventually ending up in a landfill), real trees have their benefits.  They are a renewable resource and by buying locally you are supporting growers that will continue to maintain their fields which are part of the greenspace we all value.

Choose a variety and shape that fits your needs. Many growers are producing a wide variety of firs, spruces and even old-fashioned pines. Each variety tree offers its own shape, color, fragrance, and even branch stiffness which is important to consider for holding ornaments.

Trees always look smaller in the field so don’t forget the tape measure.  Measure the floor to ceiling height before you go tree shopping and then while choosing so you end up with a tree that fits nicely into your home.

Don’t be afraid to bend the branches and shoots. Green needles should not come off in your hands. Also, the shoots should be flexible. Avoid a tree if the needles are shed or if the shoots break instead of flexing.

If possible, make a fresh cut on the bottom so the tree’s vascular tissue (pipe work) is not plugged and the tree can easily take up water. Then, if you’re not bringing it into the house right away, get the tree in a bucket of water outside.

Once you move your tree inside the house, don’t locate it next to a radiator, furnace vent or other heat source. And always remember to keep water in the tree stand topped off, so it never goes below the bottom of the trunk.

Whatever you choose to do, enjoy your “Holly Jolly Christmas” and hopefully “it’s the best time of the year.”

Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker, NYSIPM Program

Cheers from all of the NYSIPM staff.

 

 

October 23, 2019
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Help! I found a tick on me!

Help! I found a tick on me!

The time of the falling leaves has come again. Once more in our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds or the rains out of these delicate textures while we slept. – John Burroughs
Whether conducting a thorough tick check or just examining the lump behind your knee, this is something no one want to find.

Whether conducting a thorough tick check or just examining the lump behind your knee, this is something no one wants to find.

The time has also come again for blacklegged tick adults to look for their last blood meal to fuel the mating process. (To be specific, it’s time for the adult females to secure that last blood meal. It’s time for the adult males to secure a female.) And it’s time for requests such as this one, “I was wondering if you could ID this tick that I pulled off of myself and give me any tips on what diseases this variety tends to carry and transmit.”

First, let’s be clear that the information we provide about tick-borne diseases is restricted to what pathogens are carried by what tick species and how they are transmitted. It is beyond the scope of our roles as IPM Educators to discuss diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment. (For this information, we refer you to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tickborne Diseases of the United States page.) We will, however, provide you with information you can give your health care professional to help make an informed decision.

Different tick species host different pathogens. Importantly, ticks can transmit more than one pathogen at a time.

Different tick species host different pathogens. Importantly, ticks can transmit more than one pathogen at a time.

Tick-borne diseases

The easiest part of the request was what disease pathogens are carried by what ticks. The poster to the right shows what disease pathogens can be transmitted by the three ticks of greatest human concern in NY, the blacklegged tick, dog tick, and lone star tick. You can download and print it out and then go to the next step – identification.

Identifying ticks

Each species, life stage, and, for adults, whether it is a male versus female have different color patterns. The length of the mouthparts vary between ticks. They have festively named festoons which can also help with ID. As ticks are freakishly small, and we are looking at even smaller parts of their body, it is handy to have a magnifying lens, a good smartphone camera and a steady hand, or, better yet, a microscope. Don’t have one? There are options for having someone identify the tick for you. They include:

If you want to give identification a go, the TickEncounter Resource Center has an excellent guide highlighting the scutum, festoons, and life history. Life history? Yes! As temperatures drop, so does the activity of lone star, dog, and the newly discovered Asian longhorned tick, increasing the odds that the attached tick will be a blacklegged tick. And the active blacklegged ticks are most likely to be adults. Life history should only be used as a clue, however. Ticks don’t read the books and every life stage of the blacklegged tick has been found throughout the year.

What’s the risk?

A question you will likely be asked when reporting a tick is, “How long was the tick attached?”. In my honest opinion, this is a rather silly question. Ticks are very, very good at not being noticed. They want to stick around for up to a week feeding. To help deter detection, they release antihistamines and painkillers in their saliva. And, perhaps more importantly, none of us want to admit to ourselves that a tick was feeding on our blood for days. It’s a hard psychological pill to swallow. There is also some question in the medical literature about the time required for transmission of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Especially if the tick was removed improperly. (We covered safe removal of attached ticks in the blog post It’s tick season. Put away the matches and YouTube video How to remove a tick.) And we know Powassan virus can be transmitted in a matter of minutes. But the question will still likely be asked.

The answer? Take another look at that tick and refer to TickEncounter who has helpfully created charts showing the growth of ticks as they feed.

Courtesy of The TickEncounter Resource Center

Courtesy of The TickEncounter Resource Center

I have found this chart particularly useful when people swear the tick was on them for only a few hours. Having an estimate of the attached time is helpful information for your physician. Take your printed Tick-Borne Diseases and Non-Pathogenic Impacts sheet, circle the identified species, write down the estimated time of attachment, and consult with your health care professional.

Pictures such as this can be helpful, but for an accurate identification, nothing beats the actual tick.

Pictures such as this can be helpful, but for an accurate identification, nothing beats the actual tick.

And now back to the original request: “I was wondering if you could ID this tick that I pulled off of myself and give me any tips on what diseases this variety tends to carry and transmit.”. The submitted picture is included to the right. (You can click on it to make it bigger.) Before reading on, what is your identification?

This looks like an adult blacklegged tick which was attached for 2 to 3 days, which is within the time frame that pathogens carried by the tick could have been transmitted. I recommended bringing in the tick for a more certain identification.

One last question often asked – “Should I get the tick tested?”

We follow the CDC recommendation of not having the tick tested for diagnostic purposes. The reasons include:

  • Positive results showing that the tick contains a disease-causing organism do not necessarily mean that you have been infected.
  • Negative results can lead to false assurance. You may have been unknowingly bitten by a different tick that was infected.
  • If you have been infected, you will probably develop symptoms before results of the tick test are available. If you do become ill, you should not wait for tick testing results before beginning appropriate treatment.

Having said that, the Thangamani Lab in the SUNY Upstate Medical University is investigating the geographic expansion of ticks and tick-borne diseases in New York. They are conducting free tick testing for research purposes. Please consider contributing to this citizen science project and visit the website for directions on how to submit your tick.

Promoting IPM, including monitoring and personal protection, as best management practices for avoiding ticks and tick-borne disease.

Promoting IPM, including monitoring and personal protection, as best management practices for avoiding ticks and tick-borne disease.

And finally…

If you don’t get bitten by a tick, you don’t need to go through this process. Our Don’t Get Ticked NY campaign provides you with the information you need to protect yourself from the risk of tick-borne diseases. Check out How Do I Protect Myself From Ticks? before your next trip outdoors.

Let’s stay safe out there as we enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

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